Why the NBA Salary Cap is Stupid

Monday, June 11, 2007
Despite the fact that I'm a big NBA fan, I haven't been paying much attention to the NBA finals. the main reason I haven't been watching (and it appears Lebron isn't either) is that it's boring and utterly predictable. There is no doubt that the Spurs will win the series.

Here is the fundamental problem. The NBA Western Conference is far superior to the Eastern Conference. With the development that both Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are heading West, the situation is looking even more bleak for the east. The salary cap ensures things will be like this for years.

Once upon a time, the NBA decided parity would be a good thing. How did they go about it? The NBA limits how much teams can pay their stars. This means that even if an eastern conference team, say the Knicks, wants to go pay a free agent $20 million/year, they can't, because they are over the cap. What's worse is that if they have made mistakes in the past, and believe me they have, they can't get out from under it for two reasons.

Contracts are guaranteed and count against the cap. This means that if you make a mistake, see Alan Houston, it lingers for the entire length of the contract. This is compared to the NFL who can cut a player who isn't earning their paycheck.

Well at least they can trade their way out of it right? Nope. NBA trade rules are very strict making blockbuster trades very rare. Baseball puts almost no restrictions on trades, meaning that teams like the Rangers can trade a huge contract like Alex Rodriguez and save some money in the process. The NBA doesn't allow teams to send out more salary then they get back.

So you get where we are today. All the good teams in one conference and none of them in the Major markets. The NBA was best when it was dominated by a few great teams like the Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls. The NBA tried to become more like the NFL, where parity works, but they failed to do so because they didn't understand that basketball is not football.

NBA needs to open up movement. If you must keep the cap, that is understandable, but change the rules so that trades become easier to make or teams can get out from under hideous contracts.

When is it not a good time to buy a house

Saturday, June 09, 2007
How come Realtors always say it is a good time to buy a house?

House prices across the nation have been on the decline as of late. (By the way, I called the top) and look to be getting worse, not better. However, according to the president of the Realtors, it is a great time to buy.

It’s a good time to buy, in part, because home buyers are not pressured to make quick decisions,” Combs said. “We’re in a window of low interest rates with a plentiful supply homes on the market and flat prices in most areas. First-time buyers now have more power to negotiate with sellers for help on downpayment or closing costs.”

Of course in 2005, when the housing market was roaring the then President of the Realtors said

Low interest rates continue to offer opportunities to first-time buyers - a huge potential market given the generational bulge and who believe that housing is a good investment. They provide a ready market for existing owners wishing to make a trade, so there is strong demand in every sector of the housing market."

So let me get this straight. It's a great time to buy when prices are going up, because you will get all the appreciation, and its a great time to buy when prices are going down, because you will get a great value. Hmm. Is it ever not a good time to buy a house? If it's always a good idea all the time to buy a house, everyone should stop what they are doing and just become land barons. Better yet, real estate agents, I mean, it doesn't look like there are many qualifications (including honesty)

If this just goes to show you that your Real Estate agent is not your friend, I'm not sure what will.

Amazon Recommendations ... Spot On

Saturday, June 02, 2007
The other day I was at the library and was looking for a book. Right on my way out, I saw something that caught my eye. It was a book called Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

I logged into Amazon the next day and at the top they normally recommend you books based on what you bought there. I don't have a huge buying history from Amazon, and most of the stuff I have bought there has been for other people. But right there was there recommendation for that very same book. I was very impressed and decided to give Amazon its due.